Strategic planning for export markets

Entering a new market is exciting. It is an opportunity for you to grow your business by selling your existing or indeed new products and services to new customers. In addition, markets, such as the UK or Germany, are considerably larger than the Irish home market: Whether you operate B2B or B2C, there are more potential customers you can sell to.

However, all businesses have limited resources, so you need to be very clear where the new export market fits into your overall business strategy, what goals and objectives you have for that market, what resources you can make available, what channels you use to reach and serve the market, and what role the website will play in your channel strategy.

In parallel to looking internally, you also need to look externally, as entering or indeed properly penetrating a new market requires a deep understanding of that market and the overall business environment and where you might fit into that. Competition in larger markets is considerably stronger. Customer needs and expectations can be quite different. This often requires that you revisit your value proposition and your USP and refine them for your new market based on the findings of market research and in line with your decisions on the overall business strategy.

steps for strategic planning of website localisation

Strategic planning of website localisation

So, whether you are new to the export market or whether you ‘just’ add online presence to the channel and marketing mix for an existing export market, the process should always start with the strategic planning, i.e. the development of a web presence localisation strategy, based on a review of your current business strategy and value proposition in the light of business environment in your target market, including supply, demand, competitors as outlined in the figure above.

e-Vorsprung firmly believes in the value of strategic planning for export markets.

Typical activities we provide support for are listed below:

Market Research

Thorough market research is the foundation of a success in your export market. Insights gained during market research allow you to refine your value proposition and USP, so that you can hit the sweet spots of your new target market customers abroad.

Photo for market research and analysis

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Insights and a good understanding of the needs of your target market audience abroad – who they are, what their needs are and what trends are and will be influencing their purchasing decisions, is vital. If your target customers are B2C, this will be driven by the demographic profile of the target market, which often is very different to the Irish demographic make-up. If you operate B2B, this will be influenced by the company landscape within the target market as well as typically economic, technical, and legal trends.

This important work needs to be done before you localise your website, as it will directly impact, how and to what extent you need to localise your website and what internet marketing strategy and marketing tactics you adopt for the new country. We can support you with both primary and secondary market research.

Competitor Analysis

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Expanding your business to new and larger markets, such as the UK and Germany, offers plenty of new business opportunities and the prospect of new clients and sales. However, hand in hand, with the new opportunities typically goes increased competition.

Vital to your success abroad is a solid understanding of who your competitors are in the new markets – offline and online as well as local and international – and how they compete with you, i.e. what their offerings, their USPs, their pricing policies, their marketing approach are. This will have a direct influence on your approach and on how you localise your website and digital marketing for the new export market.

Our experience is that competitor analysis is critical and of high value: Not only does it help you to develop a focused competitive positioning, but analysing competitors in more competitive markets often also brings additional insights and opportunities for differentiating and innovation that can be applied in your home market, Ireland.

Value Proposition Review and USP Refinement

Value proposition and USP refinement

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici / Free

Very often this new understanding of your target export market in terms of both customers and competitors means that your Irish value proposition and/or USP does not really fully work in the new market and may need some adjustment and refinement so you can meet customer needs and differentiate yourself from competitors.

Based on export market knowledge as well as the results from the competitor analysis and market research, e-Vorsprung Consulting can support you in refining your value proposition and USP for the new target market, in particular with regard to how this value proposition needs to be expressed on your website.

For online shops this can mean that you offer a somewhat different product range to your customers, be it a subset or a superset. Or alternatively, for both e-commerce, SAAS websites or B2B websites alike, this can mean that you present the features and benefits of your products or services somewhat differently, stressing those features that differentiate you and are in demand in that target market.

Web Presence Localisation Strategy

In this final and most important step during web presence localisation planning, the insights gained during market research, competitor analysis and USP refinement are brought together to develop a high-level strategy for web presence localisation. This summarises and sets out in particular:

  • A go/no-go decision and rationale in relation to website localisation;
  • The goals and objectives of online presence in the chosen target market;
  • The implications of the competitive landscape on your value proposition, USP, website design and web content as well as digital marketing approach for the chosen export market;
  • The implications of target customer expectations, preferences and behaviours on your website design, web content, and digital marketing approach.